One of the business areas in which I never lacked a flood of good and bad examples is marketing and sales. I find it continuously remarkable how many opportunities for revenue and profit are missed out, ignored and sometimes even actively turned down.
The key: They are not extremely difficult to understand and implement. Most leaders nod their head when I present them at my workshops.
However, as the saying goes, what is easy to do is also easy not to do. And this is what I see in most businesses: a gap between understanding and implementing. OK, here are my tips, ready to be implemented:
Let me be honest: If I had predicted a year ago that people from the USA would no longer be allowed to enter the EU, that we would only be allowed on trains with masks on or that it is clear that no one knows where we will stand economically at the end of the year, would you have believed me?
Well, now we're in the middle of it - and you're probably feeling the same way as me: Somehow, things are progressing nevertheless - in some cases, not even badly. And what was unimaginable yesterday is now the new normal.
And this is exactly the reason why we, as a human species, despite very unfavorable physical conditions, have made it this far (for better or worse): We are collectively and consciously extremely adaptable.
Here comes the point for you as a leader or CEO: We are good at adapting to constraints, but we are bad at anticipating change. That's the problem with any culture change: If people don't FEEL the absolute necessity, they won't change anything.
I’m sure you know the answer to the old question “How do you eat an elephant?”. Here it is: “One bite at a time!”
As simple as this sounds, very few people – and in particular business leaders – get the reverse meaning in this answer:
Let me give you some examples: If you learn a new sales technique every day, you will ultimately become better at sales. If you do a workout once week, you will become healthier.
This sounds easy, right? Why, then, are so few people applying this method of small step improvements? The reason is three common traps:
No, it's really not easy. And occasionally unfair. And sometimes most of us feel that we'd rather not do it.
What am I talking about? Maybe you guessed: taking responsibility.
If I had to name one single lever that makes the biggest difference between sustainable success and mediocrity, it would be precisely this: the best people take full responsibility, even for what they cannot do anything about, while some wait or blame others - or both.
Here is the point: We can only act fully responsibly if we first take full ownership for the situation - whether we can do anything about it or not.
In my experience, there are 3 levels of responsibility-culture in companies of all kinds. Your success is largely determined by which level you are at. So, you better know where you stand.
Level 1: Inner denial. Here, we even have problems with people coming to meetings on time and prepared and keeping promises. This is the lowest level, because...
Note: The following article has nothing to do with department stores, but very much with the future of your business, regardless of the industry.
The other day, I stumbled across a nice statistic that clearly shows how the retail market has changed in recent years: fewer and fewer people go to department stores anymore.
This is nothing new. We have known about this trend for years. But here is my point: how many department stores have managed to profitably implement their mission (creating shopping experiences) in other ways? You know the answer: none or hardly any.
The astonishing thing is that every business school and dozens of manager books teach that we have to constantly question our business model in order to remain successful tomorrow. What drove big money into the company’s pockets yesterday may be irrelevant tomorrow. So why don’t the management teams of many companies put this simple insight into practice?
One key differentiator between extremely successful managers and average ones is their knowledge and practice of basic psychological concepts.
The benefits for you as a leader are more engaged people, higher productivity, faster change, more control, and –yes– more joy and happiness.
I while ago, I performed a seminar for the association Executives International in Switzerland. The topic: “How to double your results – in half of the time!” The feedback was outstanding.
Since many people find this topic one of the most important of all (who has too much time?), I’d like to give you three ideas you can apply today to get more done in less time:
For many companies, things have changed with COVID-19 and the lockdown. It is only logical to look at whether the strategy still fits and where adjustments are needed, right? Wrong!
If you had a robust strategy, then very little will need to change. But if your strategy was on thin ice, then it is more than appropriate to rework the strategy anyway. The past few weeks have been just the stumbling block that provided the necessary impetus.
Even if you think that you have a strong and robust strategy, I still see three issues that receive far too little attention when it comes to successfully shaping the future. It would be best for your company or your division to look at them immediately. Time is pressing!
It’s an interesting thought: All of your failures and your reasons you don’t unleash your true potential come from ignorance of universal success laws. Sounds weird? Let me explain it with an analogy:
You are consistently exposed to the law of gravity. The universe doesn’t care if you like it, if you agree to it, or if you ignore it. It simply works. When you let your smartphone slip through your fingers, it will inevitably fall. No protests help change this reality.
Well, also for any success – and for happiness – there are universal laws at play. Their violation leads to mediocre results or even to massive failure. And that’s what happens to almost all businesses, teams, and people: They wonder why they are stressed and don’t achieve more (like others do). They take action here and there. However, if they don’t act more consistently to the universal laws, they will always remain below their potential.
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